To reduce pollution and work towards a cleaner environment, the Maharashtra government is expected to waive value added tax, road tax and registration charges for electric vehicles, Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal said on Saturday.
"I am committing to you publicly that Mahashtra will waive VAT, Road Tax and registration for all electric vehicles in the state," Goyal told reporters after inaugurating the bio-CNG plant at Mahindra World City.
Stating that the government would extend its support towards "cost-effective solutions" that would make India cleaner and greener, Goyal said he had taken up the issue of waiving registration charges of electric vehicles with the union government and was hopeful of implementing it.
"I spoke to the Chief Minister (Devendra Fadnavis) about 15 minutes ago. I am hopeful of meeting him tomorrow to carry this programme further. I can assure you that we will make that happen. We want to see faster roll out of electric vehicles not only (Mahindra Group's electric vehicle) Reva but all electric vehicles in the country", he said.
Asked about time frame for launching the scheme in Mahashtra, ruled by the BJP, he said, "if you look up the last 18 months on how fast the Ministry (was working), you will get the answer. I think initially we should launch it in some cities of Maharashtra", he said.
Talking about the Bio-CNG plant situated at Mahindra World City, Singaperumalkoil about 55 km from here, he said, the plant would contribute to greening of India and make the country a better place to live in.
"Our government will support any initiative than can provide cost-effective solutions towards making India cleaner and greener", he said.
To a query, he said the Ministry was working on providing feature in which gasoline stations also have charging points for electric vehicles. "We are working towards building up that infrastructure. It could be a public-private partnership.", he said.
On the rural electrification programme, Goyal said for the first time in the country, December 29 had "zero shortage of power" and everybody who wanted electricity had 100% "availability".
"For the first time in the history of India, 100% power was met and you had grid connectivity for all at one price which was as low as Rs 2.31. This is for the first time in the history of India", he said. The bio-CNG facility has been set up to create carbon neutral ecosystem at Mahindra World City.
Spread over 1,000 square metres, the facility would have the capacity to convert eight tonnes of food and kitchen waste generated daily at Mahindra World City into 1,000m3 of raw biogas. Further the raw bio gas can be enriched to yield 400 kg per day of purified CNG grade fuel which is equivalent to a 200 kW power plant, an official said.
To a query about the status of the rural electrification programme, Goyal said the goverment would increase the programme from the present coverage of 100 villages to 200 villages per day. "Currently, we are electrifying about 100 villages a day and we are going to ramp it up to 200 villages a day. So our plan is to electrify 18,452 villages..", he said.
He recalled that Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Independence Day speech last year said country would have total electrification of villages by 1,000 days.
Out of the 5.97 villages in the country, 5.79 lakh received grid power as of May 31, 2015. The Centre plans to provide electrification to remaining 18,452 villages by May 31, 2018. On promotion of LED bulbs by the ministry, Goyal said, "the government has planned to distribute seven crore LED bulbs during the current financial year".